Prepare to be evangelized!
And the Supreme Loli said, Let there be moe: and there was moe. And the Supreme Loli saw the moe, and it was good; and She divided the moe from the unworthy.
Brave New World
I think that could have gone worse.
Well actually this isn’t technically a “new” world our otaku protagonist is thrust into, but it might as well be. First things first, I should get this out of the way since obvious comparisons abound. Yes, Outbreak Company is highly reminiscent of Zero no Tsukaima; we have an everyday, ordinary guy (not to say that being an otaku NEET is the norm) who is abruptly cast into an unfamiliar, Medieval-ish world. But honestly the similarity is only superficial. Shinichi isn’t so much summoned out of thin air by fate as he is kidnapped by the government in recognition of his “skill set” and “talents”. And here our protagonist is actually in a rather hot-shot position as opposed to being a less glorious manservant. Expanding on that train of thought, I think it’s actually quite inspiring that Shinichi appeared to be seeking to turn his life around. In spite of being a withdrawn otaku, he’s actually got his shit together enough to be looking for a job like any splendid contributing member of society! Well, assuming that he really was job hunting seriously and not taking that survey on a whim like it was some sort of pop-up he clicked on… But I think I’d rather give him the benefit of the doubt.
All the moe they need.
Anyway, Brave New World really is quite an appropriate epithet considering the situation our hero finds himself in. It’s a world new to him, and this new world is bravely embracing the finer aspects of our own culture. If you stop and think about it for a moment, this suggests two important facts: anime is the epitome that all mankind has to offer, and the Supreme Ruler is also an otaku. Ok, one of those is probably not right. But let’s not sweat the small stuff. Looking at some of the characters in the show though, one has to wonder if her Highness really had to import anime from a foreign world to get her moe fix. Myuseru aside, the cast is filled with no shortage of cute girls, if the opening is any indication. Which then begs raises the question: is there really a need for moe missionaries in a world filled with such cute demi-human girls? Heck, perhaps our world could even stand to gain from theirs. I think this means a bi-directional exchange is in order!
Deep life lessons.
I got a bit side-tracked there, so let’s forget about adorable half-elf maids and redirect our attention to some more serious points in the show. One such notable item is Shinichi’s former experience with love: he worked up the courage to confess to his childhood friend only to be nonchalantly rejected because “you’re an otaku”. I’ll reserve my judgement of her character for a later time in the hopes that she’s not really as unpleasant as that scene makes her out to be. But let’s just say that for now, I think it’s for the best that Shinichi didn’t get to go out with her. Moving on, there’s a brief flashback to Shinichi’s childhood when he has a conversation with his teacher. Her little spiel about things that you can’t learn from just studying does teach an important lesson. But while I understand she isn’t talking about the kind of scholastic learning we typically think of, calling manga textbooks is a bit of a stretch.
I don’t see how those ears are anything but adorable.
Finally, there’s the obvious deal with Myuseru being ashamed of her ears. I don’t think the problem is with her elf lineage, as we see elves strolling around town without any apparent problems. Perhaps the issue is her mixed blood? I know that it is a rather regular trope for the products of such unions to be shunned by both sides as being tainted, so this seems the more likely culprit for Myuseru’s self-loathing. But honestly, who could tell that she’s half-elf? The only notable physical characteristic that sets elves apart from humans is their ears, so she might as well be full elf as far as I’m concerned. If she hadn’t mentioned her lineage herself, I wouldn’t even have guessed as much.
All that said, what do I think about Outbreak Company? Basically, I love it so far. Having Feel behind the wheel is always a bit disconcerting, especially given their reputation for making more fanservice-heavy shows. But it’s not as if they haven’t done anything great within and without this mold. And with a show like Outbreak Company, I think Feel is more than justified to knock themselves out with cuteness overload. We are talking about spreading the love for moe, after all. Now, I have heard that the serious aspects (Myuseru’s predicament comes to mind) will get more attention later down the road, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. Who knows? Feel might just surprise us by tackling these socio-philosophical issues head-on.